Archive for the ‘Networked society’ Category
The relationship between the practice of democracy and the use of new information technologies is dependent upon the technologies of communication and information, rules regarding the use of those technologies, and the nature of the entity making rules regarding those technologies. Since today developments in all three of these areas are turbulent, this article looks to social theory that deals with turbulence and chaos as a way of understanding the democratic potential in the qualitatively different network society. The streams of literature drawn upon include second-order cybernetics and chaos theory, organizational sociology, and the literature on the state. The concept of the autopoietic state is developed as a basis for determining appropriate communication policy principles for maximizing the democratic potential in the network environment.
Whereas in postmodernism, being was left in a free-floating fabric of emotional intensities, in contemporary culture the existence of the self is affirmed through the network. Kazys Varnelis discusses what this means for the democratic public sphere.
Not all at once but rather slowly, in fits and starts, a new societal condition is emerging: network culture. As digital computing matures and meshes with increasingly mobile networking technology, society is also changing, undergoing a cultural shift. Just as modernism and postmodernism served as crucial heuristic devices in their day, studying network culture as a historical phenomenon allows us to better understand broader sociocultural trends and structures, to give duration and temporality to our own, ahistorical time.
Manuel Lima, senior UX design lead at Microsoft Bing, explores the power of network visualisation to help navigate our complex modern world.
In On The Brink we discuss the past, present and future of connectivity with a mix of people including David Rowan, chief editor of Wired UK; Caterina Fake, founder of Flickr; and Eric Wahlforss, the co-founder of Soundcloud. Each of the interviewees discusses the emerging opportunities being enabled by technology as we enter the Networked Society. Concepts such as borderless opportunities and creativity, new open business models, and today’s ‘dumb society’ are brought up and discussed.
This volume explores the patterns and dynamics of the network society in its cultural and institutional diversity. By network society, we refer to the social structure that results from the interaction between social organization, social change, and a technological paradigm constituted around digital information and communication technologies. We start from a rejection of technological determinism, as technology cannot be considered independently of its social context. But we also emphasize the importance of technology as material culture by focusing on the specific social processes related to the emergence of this new technological paradigm. Thus, while several chapters focus on the social uses of the Internet, this is not a study of the Internet. Instead, observa- tion of the practices of the Internet is our entry point to understand the diffu- sion of networking as an organizational form and to examine the complex interaction between technology and society in our world. Using an historical parallel, the equivalent would be to study the diffusion and uses of the electri- cal engine and the electric grid to understand the development of industrial society.
What defines the collective research effort presented in this book is the conviction that the network society, while presenting some fundamental, common features in all contexts, takes very different forms depending on the cultural and institutional environments in which it evolves. We would like, as our contribution to the understanding of a world in the making, to break with the ethnocentrism of many visions of the network society (or information and knowledge society in another terminology), which often assimilate the rise of this society to the cultural and organizational unification of a globalized world, usually reproducing the social forms and values of the United States or Western Europe.
The Interaction between Information and Communication Technologies and the Network Society – a process of historical change
Societies evolve and are transformed through a complex interaction of cultural, economic, political, and technological factors. In any given society, the available range of technological processes becomes organised into technological paradigms around a nucleus that enhances the performance of each individual one. Informationalism is the technological paradigm that currently provides the basis for a new type of social structure known as the network society. This social structure consists of information networks that are driven by information technologies and has become the dominant form of social organisation at the present time. Informational development is the result of both cultural and technological innovation and the process of innovation itself essentially depends on the existence of free, high quality university and research institutions within the context of a free society. Under informationalism, freedom, science, and power all come together and are interrelated in a “virtuous circle”
This article presents a set of grounded hypotheses on the interplay between communication and power relationships in the technological context that characterizes the network society. Based on a selected body of communication literature, and of a number of case studies and examples, it argues that the media have become the social space where power is decided. It shows the direct link between politics, media politics, the politics of scandal, and the crisis of political legitimacy in a global perspective. It also puts forward the notion that the development of interactive, horizontal networks of communication has induced the rise of a new form of communication, mass self-communication, over the Internet and wireless communication networks. Under these conditions, insurgent politics and social movements are able to intervene more decisively in the new communication space. However, corporate media and mainstream politics have also invested in this new communication space. As a result of these processes, mass media and horizontal communication networks are converging. The net outcome of this evolution is a historical shift of the public sphere from the institutional realm to the new communication space.
The twenty-first century of the Common Era did not necessarily have to usher in a new society. But it did. People around the world feel the winds of multidimensional social change without truly understanding it, let alone feeling a grasp upon the process of change. Thus the challenge to sociology, as the science of study of society. More than ever society needs sociology, but not just any kind of sociology. The sociology that people need is not a normative meta-discipline instructing them, from the authoritative towers of academia, about what is to be done. It is even less a pseudo~sociology made up of empty word games and intellectual narcissism, expressed in terms deliberately incomprehensible for anyone without access to a French-Greek dictionary.